Welcome everyone to the new look SSX forums. This new skin is something myself and MS, with some help and advice from BD to perfect it, have been working on for a few weeks now and we're finally at the point where we feel ready to launch. The reasoning behind making it is simply that we've had BBTech running as our default since the forum opened now, and despite our logo at the top it is not particularly unique to us - defining as it were. New skins for the forum were also requested a while back, but it has never been addressed until now. This skin has been produced to try and resolve both these points - by both freshening up the forum and giving us a change of scene for those who have asked for a change from BBTech in the past.
As we've developed the skin we've kept 3 main things in mind, that we hope we have achieved now that we are ready to launch:
1) The result needed to be something that looks attractive, is unique to us, and is an improvement upon the look of BBTech. It is important that members enjoy the look of the skin, rather than disliking it, and we hope this is the case.
2) The result needed to be something that is not too loading intensive, so that we do not penalise our members running on slower connections. Whilst the skin is slightly image heavier than BBTech was, our testing has shown that it is not too much more intensive than BBTech is - with the initial load time differential being very low. Therefore we are hopeful that initial load times will not be too hard upon such members. We have also tried to ensure that any subsequent page accesses after the initial loading are as quick as possible, and our testing has suggested we have achieved this - once the images have been loaded once there should be no further skin related loading delays.
3) The result needed to be something that could be easily adapted to become our Default skin upon our moving to phpBB3 (though this move is not yet dated). One of our major sticking points with the move to phpBB3 was finding a suitable skin, as BBTech is a phpBB2 only skin and as such we would have to locate a suitable replacement before we could make the move. Our ultimate goal with the production of this skin has been to produce something that would negate this need, as this could simply be adapted and utilised as our 'core' skin upon moving, as BBTech has been used for years now here. To this end I will be beginning work on adapting this skin to phpBB3 soon, ready for whenever we are prepared to move. However this is, of course, dependant upon the successful reception of the skin.
We have decided that for several days this skin will be forced to the Default skin for all forum visitors, as BBTech has been in the past. This is to ensure that as many people as possible experience the skin, and to encourage all of you to leave feedback and/or any comments you might have so that we can make any improvements or bugfixes (though hopefully few of these
) necessary. After this period, likely at the weekend, we will evaluate the comments and thoughts we have recieved and make a decision on whether to leave the skin as the forced Default, or leave it as the Default but enable the option for users to switch back to BBTech in their Profiles should they wish to do so. At this point in time, I am far more inclined toward the latter option to enable more freedom of choice for the membership.
We really hope you like the new look, and ask you to drop your comments as replies to this thread - be they good or bad (as constructive criticism is always appreciated). We will take all comments on board!